1 John 4:17-18
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
John today gives us the formula for having confidence before God. And it all starts with God. It all starts with who God is. God is love. What does this mean? God never does anything that is not loving. Why? Because that is His very nature. Importantly this is a love that is unconditional. Unconditional love is something we rarely experience in the world. Usually our parents are the best example of unconditional love in this world.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is "perfect love casts out all fear". This is a different kind of fear than fear of God because of His holiness. The fear of God that is out of awe and respect for who God is. The fear in this passage is a fear of punishment. This is the fear Adam and Eve experienced when they sinned in the Garden. They felt ashamed and avoided God. When we experience God's unconditional love in Jesus, we are transformed. We begin to love like Jesus did, and it gives us confidence not fear before God.
Therefore, when we love others unconditionally, it results in three things.
1. It shows we know God's love and we witness that God is love.
2. It gives us confidence that we are doing something we were created and now empowered to do.
3. It benefits the recipient of our love, and they experience God's love through us.
A final word on this kind of love. This love is tested when we meet someone who would seem "unloveable". It is easy to love people who are easy to love, but love is proved when the person we love is incapable of loving us back. This is where love is perfected, because this is how God loves. God proved His loved by this, "When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!" Romans 5:8
How is God calling you to love more like He does? Who is God calling you to love like He does? As we obey God in our love for others, God's love is made perfect in us.